Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today Brandon Wheat Kings captain Braden Schneider (Prince Albert, Sask.) has won the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as WHL Defenceman of the Year presented by RE/MAX of Western Canada.
Schneider, a first-round selection of the New York Rangers in the 2020 NHL Draft, led the Wheat Kings to the East Division championship, posting 27 points (5G-22A) during the 2020-21 WHL season. His point total was third-best among WHL blueliners, and the product of Prince Albert, Sask. finished second among WHL defencemen in assists and game-winning goals (two). Schneider’s 15 power-play helpers were second-most among all WHL skaters.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound rearguard enjoyed a pair of four-game point streaks from March 12 to March 18, and April 13 to April 18, 2021. He also recorded a four-point game (0G-4A) in Brandon’s penultimate outing of the 2020-21 season on March 25, 2021.
Schneider was also part of the Team Canada squad that captured the gold medal at the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia. He recorded one assist in nine appearances at the event.
“On behalf of all the REALTORS of RE/MAX of Western Canada, we congratulate Braden Schneider of the Brandon Wheat Kings on this tremendous achievement,” said Elaine Langhout, Director of Regional Advertising for RE/MAX of Western Canada. “We know that your hometown of Prince Albert must be super proud as well and we wish you well on your future hockey journey and wherever life takes you. Our sincere congrats Braden!”
Schneider was originally selected by the Wheat Kings in the first round, 12th overall, in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. He has amassed 115 points (21G-94A) in 207 career WHL regular season games, adding seven more assists in 14 career WHL playoff games. The New York Rangers took the Brandon defenceman with the 19th overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft.
The 19-year-old becomes the third member of the Brandon Wheat Kings franchise to win the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy, and first since Ivan Provorov during the 2015-16 WHL season. Brad McCrimmon was also named WHL Defenceman of the Year during the 1977-78 WHL campaign. Schneider becomes the fifth first-round NHL Draft selection in the past eight WHL seasons to win the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy.
The Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy recognizes a WHL defenceman who has demonstrated the best all-around ability at his position during the WHL Regular Season.
Born in Saskatoon, Sask., Hunter is honoured for his role in the establishment and sustained success of the WHL. Dedicated and enthusiastic to growing Major Junior hockey, Hunter served as the Owner, General Manager, and Coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings in addition to being a co-founder of the league.
Along with long-time friend, the late Scotty Munro, the pair helped to lead the league’s growth through its formative years.
Winners of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy / WHL Defenceman of the Year (since 2001)
2020-21 Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings
2019-20 Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs
2018-19 Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs *
2017-18 Kale Clague, Moose Jaw Warriors
2016-17 Ethan Bear, Seattle Thunderbirds
2015-16 Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings *
2014-15 Shea Theodore, Seattle Thunderbirds
2013-14 Derrick Pouliot, Portland Winterhawks
2012-13 Brenden Kichton, Spokane Chiefs
2011-12 Alex Petrovic, Red Deer Rebels
2010-11 Stefan Elliott, Saskatoon Blades
2009-10 Tyson Barrie, Kelowna Rockets
2008-09 Jonathon Blum, Vancouver Giants *
2007-08 Karl Alzner, Calgary Hitmen *
2006-07 Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers *
2005-06 Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers
2004-05 Dion Phaneuf, Red Deer Rebels
2003-04 Dion Phaneuf, Red Deer Rebels
2002-03 Jeff Woywitka, Red Deer Rebels
2001-02 Dan Hamhuis, Prince George Cougars *
2000-01 Christian Chartier, Prince George Cougars
* Denotes CHL Defenceman of the Year
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 375 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.